The design process:The design process happens in many ways and always seems different for different people. For many of my clients the first thing that drives design is the budget. Some of my projects have had simple lines, which keep the cost down, but are enhanced by the details. This is an economical way to build and still get something that’s really special.
Some people already have good ideas about what they want, but need a little more inspiration, or a better sense of how to customize their wish list to their home-site. In many cases people get inspired by looking at other projects, either on their own or on a field trip I offer to tour my projects. It helps to look around a lot, take pictures, do as much homework and brainstorming about what you need, and what you want as part of the design discussion.
Ideas and Inspiration:I feel that design is a fluid process that grows on itself and usually does not completely stop until the project is complete. Sometimes it even continues after the project is complete. The hope is that all potential is realized and that all options have been considered and that there are no regrets, just smiles. Some people feel that everything should be able to be figured out from the drafting table ahead of time. This is often the case, and always the goal, however I feel that new ideas continue to flow and opportunities present themselves once the spaces start to take shape. Views open up and spaces can be customized in small ways that make big differences!
Generally the right design is achieved through a collaboration between the collective creativity of the client and the designer / architect, in order to create an aesthetically pleasing, environmentally sensitive and functionally satisfying project that also most importantly.. works with one’s specific site.
Although I do design many of the projects that I build, I am happy to work with architects and designers, or with a customer’s design. I also have several other capable and talented local designer and architect colleagues to whom I refer clients.
Use of local materials:People who choose to move to the Methow Valley or to have a second home here all seem to have one thing in common; a love and respect for the unique beauty of this place. Amidst the “big picture” beauty of the Methow is the beauty in the elements that make this place amazing. When I first started building here ten years ago I built pretty conventionally and was satisfied with that. Then I started being inspired by some of the characters that have lived here for years. It seems that the longer one lives here the more this place takes up residence in them. I began to see creativity that obviously came from having lived closely in the natural beauty of this inspirational valley.
I can build conventional, and have done so for years in Seattle, working on Craftsman style homes. But I can also be playful and creative and offer the customer unique and original touches. Some of my work reflects ideas borrowed from others, and modified by my own or customer’s sentiments, of what looks good and what a space needs. These ideas keep evolving. I’ve never had more fun building than in the last several years. Much of what I use for siding and trim come right out of the local forests. There are many small custom sawmill operations in the valley. Building using custom lumber usually requires more planning ahead, and is sometimes more expense, often less, but I think that the results are more original and interesting in most cases. Cedar has gotten very expensive, and is great for certain applications. Locally though Pine and fir are plentiful, and when used properly every bit as good, and I think can be prettier and ground a project to the Methow, where these species are native. River rock is also plentiful and can be beautifully incorporated in unique and interesting ways into a structure. Stamped concrete has become popular because of its organic, natural textures and colors. All of these elements and more have become mainstays in many of my projects and people seem to love to live closer to these more natural elements. I would say that my style is still very “craftsman”, having been influenced by that style so much in my years remodeling older homes in the Seattle area. But it is definitely craftsman with a “Methow rustic” twist.